New RIM CEO Staying the Course--Time to Jump Ship?

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RIM has shaken up the executive leadership. At face value, that seems like a step in the right direction, but the initial indication from RIM’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins, is that he plans to double down on the failed strategies that got the company where it is today. It might be time for organizations that rely on RIM to start exploring their options.

RIM has gone from dominant market leader to virtually irrelevant in a matter of a couple of years. From the outside, it doesn’t seem like RIM actually has a strategy. But, whatever strategy it has is clearly not working. Suggesting that the current plan is sound is like taking over the Titanic knowing it’s about to hit an iceberg, and consciously deciding to stay the course and see what happens.

RIM plans to continue its current strategy, which may be cause to look at alternatives.
Well, RIM, and its employees and shareholders can work all that out. In the meantime, organizations around the world that have built their infrastructure around RIM’s iconic BlackBerry mobile devices may want to at least find a life vest, and figure out the quickest path to the life boats…Just in case.

Whether you jump ship, or buckle in and hang on tight is really a matter of what you want or need from your mobile devices. While RIM has fallen woefully behind the innovation curve, and lacks the sex appeal of the iPhone, Android smartphones, or Windows Phone 7, the core functionality that put BlackBerry on top is still there.

RIM offers a fundamentally sound mobile communications platform. The BlackBerry OS offers better security, and provides IT admins with the tools necessary to enforce policies, and effectively manage mobile devices.

That said, RIM has failed to evolve the BlackBerry OS with the changing mobile landscape. Its attempts after the fact have either failed completely, or been perceived as too little, too late by users who prefer the broader functionality and capabilities of more cutting edge smartphones like the iPhone.

For many organizations, BlackBerry devices still have distinct advantages over rivals, or their weaknesses are at least not enough incentive to walk away from the existing investment in the BlackBerry platform. Consider, though, just how dependent your organization is on that BlackBerry infrastructure, and what the impact might be if RIM ceased to exist.

I am not saying organizations should panic and run for the doors right now. I am just suggesting that organizations start to consider how they might wean off of BlackBerry if they need to, and develop an exit strategy to transition to a different mobile platform with as little disruption to productivity and business processes as possible if the need arises.

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